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NSW and Queensland fires: Bushfires burn out of control near Sydney

Courtesy: Nine

More homes are threatened after an out-of-control bushfire burned through to the coast in southern NSW as thick smoke from blazes surrounding Sydney continues to blanket the city.

Some 120 bush and grass fires were burning across NSW on Tuesday evening with more than 20 uncontained.

The more than 30,000-hectare Currowan bushfire near Batemans Bay on the state’s south coast has already destroyed at least one home.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says the blaze is spreading quickly towards coastal areas around Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Pretty Beach.

“The fire has reached the coast in some areas,” the RFS said on Tuesday evening.

“Firefighters and aircraft are working to protect homes where possible.”

Residents in the Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North areas have been told to seek shelter because it’s too late to leave.

The Princes Highway between Dolphin Point and Batemans Bay has been closed in both directions.

Residents near Penrith had no warning this afternoon when two blazes ignited in Cranebrook and Londonderry in hot and windy conditions. Police are investigating whether they were deliberately lit.

Waterbombing aircraft attacked the flames from above as firefighters formed a line of defence along Smeeton Road battling to contain the Cranebook fire.

The Cranebrook fire has been downgraded from emergency level to watch and act.

In Londonderry a shed was destroyed in the blaze but dozens of homes just metres away were saved.
“The firies have been working hard to protect people’s houses and properties and they’re doing a good job,” resident Nicholas Farrugia told 9News.

“It’s very disappointing, it’s a disgusting act,” he said at suggestions a firebug was behind the blaze.

An emergency warning has also been issued for a blaze threatening the Mangrove Creek, Greengrove and Lower Mangrove areas on the Central Coast.

Residents have been advised to seek shelter.

Properties destroyed

One property west of the town of Kioloa has been confirmed destroyed by the Currowan fire, but it is currently too dangerous for authorities to carry out further damage assessments.

Emergency warnings were in place at 6.30pm for the Currowan fire and a 200-hectare bushfire at Pelaw Main east of Cessnock in the Hunter region.

Resident Mal Watson described the scenes as the blaze approached as “kind of scary”.
“What matters, I have my family here and I have got the horses are okay, the dog’s okay,” he told 9News.

Residents should take advice from firefighters in the area.

Meanwhile, a car crash which killed a driver in the state’s Hunter Valley has sparked a series of small bushfires, as hazardous smoke from other blazes across the state continues to linger over Sydney.

Emergency services were called to the accident at Leggetts Drive, near Kurri Kurri, after the vehicle hit a pole at 10.15am. The driver, who hasn’t been identified, was found dead.

The car caught alight and sparked several spot fires which firefighters are trying to control, police say.

The fire remains at Watch and Act level. A new Watch and Act is in place for a fire near Kempsey at Carrai East.

Sydney shrouded in smoke

Hazardous air quality warnings remain in place for Sydney, with the east and wouth west of the city worst affected by smoke.

Landmarks including Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach have been choked in the toxic haze.
A pair of tourists from Hong Kong visiting Bondi Beach said they were surprised at the air quality.

Tomorrow’s air quality is expected to improve, according to the Department of Environment, but will still be regarded as “Poor”.

There are no total fire bans in place today but there is a “very high” fire danger stretching along the NSW coast and in the northern parts of the state.

Easing winds in Queensland

Firefighters in Queensland have some relief today with high winds weakening.
More than 50 fires continue to burn across the state.

Yesterday crews faced brutal conditions as winds blowing in excess of 50 km/h caused a fire at Narangha to flare up.

Three properties came under threat but firefighters were able to bring it under control. Five regions of southern Queensland have reached a “severe fire danger” rating already, with extreme conditions possible in areas such as the Lockyer Valley.

While the winds are expected to drop off over the next two days, heatwave across Queensland will continue after the temperature nudged 40C in many parts yesterday, smashing records in many parts.

In Brisbane the temperature hit 33.9C – its hottest December day in seven years – the Sunshine Coast 36C and Gladstone 38.4C. And at Yeppoon , where the temperature soared to 38.9 C – it was the hottest December day for 24 years.

Temperatures eased slightly today, with a maximum of 33C in Brisbane at lunch time.

But heatwave conditions will return from tomorrow, with the city facing temperatures of 35C or above until Saturday. Ipswich can expect a maximum of 42C late in the week.